We're partnering with OPEN 2018 Platform Co-op Conference - with tix to give away!

Excited and delighted to be partnering this event (see our partner page here).

In line with our interest in a superpowered localism, we have been exploring "platform cooperativism" over a number of posts here. In essence, platform coops try to adapt the best functions of the connecting and productive power of digital and networked "platforms" - what Facebook, Uber and Amazon do well, in supporting and enabling interaction and sharing.

But they also try to minimise the worst aspect - which is their centralised and exploitative control structures, which reap all the value of this interactivity by selling it as consumer data to advertisers and other buyers. Now, what if the platforms themselves were cooperatively owned and run? What if we could both freely interact with well-designed digital tools, AND have that data be in our hands, bringing our communities direct benefit?

All the answers to that question will be at this event. Below is a piece from the organisers, laying out their prospectus this year.

But before that, we're tickled to offer TWO readers a free ticket each to the event! The offer will close in a week's time - Friday 25th May at 5pm. Please send a mail to info@thealternative.org.uk, with "OPEN FREE TICKET" in the subject header, and we will randomly pick two winners. 

Here's the piece from the OPEN organisers:

After an extremely successful event in February 2017 at Goldsmiths University The Open Co-op conference is back with a new line up and a new venue for 2018, in partnership with The Alternative UK.

This year, OPEN 2018 will be held at Conway Hall in Holborn on the 26th and 27th of July. Conway Hall is owned and operated by Conway Hall Ethical Society, a membership organisation and educational charity with a history spanning two centuries. With space for 400 people it is the perfect venue for the Platform Co-ops conference, continuing the societies progressive theme which began as a dissident congregation rebellion against "the doctrine of eternal hell".

There is no denying that the current dominant form of extractive capitalism, which preys on consumers and exploits their liberties and rights in the name of profit, is delivering it's own version of hell for most people, especially the most marginalised. As this business model evolves to exploit the new digital era many of the services we rely on are exacerbating inequalities and undermining workers rights. Something has to change.

...The co-operative sector must evolve to stay relevant and challenge the norms of this new digital world. By placing members at the heart of organisational ownership and governance and the development of thriving communities before profit, platform co-ops form an essential component of the transition to a transparent, democratic and decentralised economy which works for everyone.

A society in which anyone can become a co-owner of the organisations on which they, their family and their community depend. A world where everyone can have say in the decisions that affect them.

OPEN 2018, the Platform Co-op conference, will focus on three main themes:

  • The Platform co-op showcase will present examples from functioning platform co-ops, including practical examples of legal structures, funding and financial setups, and detailed insight from platform co-op practitioners about how their organisations work.
  • The Collaborative and Peer to Peer technology sessions will feature presentations on alternative digital currencies, open source tools and technology and the development of the new platforms and protocols which are enabling online co-operation to evolve at scale.
  • Discussions on the changing narrative will explore the co-operative vision and the evolving politics and philosophy of a world of abundance and inclusivity which underpins the creation of a more collaborative, equitable economy which works for people and planet before profit.

Incorporating a mix of presentations, showcases, discussions and open space sessions in which the participants decide what is discussed, OPEN 2018 presents an opportunity to meet co-operative development experts, legal practitioners and software developers to discuss the structure, challenges and opportunities of the new cooperative economy.

Bringing together 400 attendees from the private sector, existing and aspiring co-operatives, open source and technology developers as well as researchers, press and academia, OPEN 2018 provides a chance to learn, discuss and develop valuable relationships within the co-operative economy.

With practical guidance on starting-up, hands on workshops about developing decentralised organisations and advice on governance and ownership structures to develop more inclusive and participatory organisations OPEN 2018 will provide valuable lessons for projects and organisations of all sizes.

Follow The Open Co-op on twitter and sign up to the mailing list at to be kept up to date. You can find more details about the session on the draft programme page which will continually updated between now and July as more speakers are signed up.

Early BIrd tickets with a 20% discount end on May 25th so secure you place now! We look forward to welcoming you to OPEN 2018.

Tickets here. And there'll be more to come from Open on these pages.